Thursday, February 10, 2011

Organic vs Conventional Foods

There is no doubt about it, organic food is better for the planet and better for us, right? Well, that is what I would like to believe and until someone shows me valid proof otherwise my mind will not be changed. I just don't like the idea that my food took a shower in chemicals before making it to my table.

Over 4 years ago now we made the switch to buying close to 100% organic food for our household; at the time we were DINKS (Dual income, no kids). Things have changed since them we now have a child and I am a SAHM (Stay at home mom) and in the future we would love to add another little monster to the mix.

Strictly buying organic is easier, no need to think and look at list of produce that is "OK to buy conventional" or where something was made or grown; however, if you want to cut down on your grocery cost, and my estimate for us is probably close to 400$ - 500$ a year just on dairy alone, there is stuff you can do.

So, starting this week we are no longer going to buy 100% organic, but buy our groceries selectively. The majority will still be organic, however, we will start buying some conventionally grown produce: the items that have the lowest amount of pesticide residue on them. We'll also start buying conventional dairy products from select countries.

After reviewing information found on various websites, including but not limited to EWG and wiki and the government of Canada sites, this is what I came up with that our family would compromise on.

Vegetables OK to buy conventionally:
Sweet Corn (Frozen)
Sweet Peas (Frozen)
Sweet Potatoes
Winter Squashes
Hot house vegetables (Canadian)

Fruits OK to buy conventionally:
Cantaloupe (US and Canadian)
Plums (Canadian)

Dairy OK to buy conventionally:
My main concern with dairy is the Bovine Growth Hormone and use of antibiotics.  Luckily for us, in Canada, the BGH is not legal to give to our cattle. Also, farmers have to pump and dump milk when antibiotics are used.

I am not as concerned with making sure the dairy we consume is organic, as the jury is still out as to how much additional benefit organic dairy has for us versus conventional dairy; if the information out there ever changes, we will review our stance on this.

So, as it stands I will be buying conventional milk, cheese, butter, cream as long as the milk it is made from originated from one of the following countries: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and all European Union countries.

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